The Justin Northwest boys used a 10-1 third-quarter run to build a nine-point lead and hung on for a 57-54 District 4-5A victory over visiting Richland on Tuesday night.
The Texans (17-3, 4-0), ranked No. 9 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll, hit 18 of 24 free-throw attempts for the game and 7 of 12 in the fourth quarter.
“We felt like we had a little meltdown at the end of the first half and we didn’t play like we were capable of and were only down one, so we felt pretty good,” said Northwest coach Mike Hatch, who was honored before the game for a his 500th career win on Dec. 20 against Southlake Carroll. “We’re a good free-throw shooting team, so we’re pretty confident come late in the game, but we weren’t nearly as sharp as we normally are.”
With the score tied 32-32, the Texans embarked on their pivotal run. David Ogunwolu scored four of his 10 points during the game-changing stretch.
Eight Northwest players scored, led by Elijah Christman, who tallied 20 points.
Richland (12-6, 3-1) was led by Hayden Hunter with 20 points. Tim Priller added 13 for the Rebels.
Trailing 50-43, Richland fought back to make it 51-48 when Priller hit a pair of free throws and then made a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a Northwest turnover.
The Rebels cut the lead to 54-52 with 28 seconds left when Zac Graves made 2 of 3 free-throw attempts, but Josh Tatum sank two of his own to put the Texans up 56-52.
Richland added a basket with five seconds left, but after the final Northwest free throw, the Rebels’ missed a last-second shot from halfcourt.